Three girls writing at table with their teacher

Educare Chicago Follow-Up Study

This ongoing study determines the effectiveness of our Educare Chicago program.

Start Early initiated the Educare Chicago Follow-Up Study in 2005 to determine how well our high-quality, birth-to-five, early care and education program prepared children and their families for elementary school and beyond. This ongoing study is designed as a longitudinal, mixed methods investigation of 12 cohorts of over 300 former Educare Chicago students and their families. Our research team hopes to follow graduates’ achievements throughout their K-12 education and into adulthood.

The study findings help support our early childhood policy and advocacy work and drive continuous quality improvement at Educare Chicago, as well as at the national Educare Learning Network of schools. The study findings also contribute to the body of evidence that confirms the long-lasting, positive outcomes of a high-quality early educational experience.

The Educare Chicago Follow-Up Study continues to provide researchers, policymakers and practitioners valuable insights on how to improve the quality of early learning environments for all children, including those living in often under-resourced communities.

Key Findings

  • The first cohort of Educare Chicago students that graduated high school have all gone on to pursue post-secondary education.
  • Over 80% of former Educare Chicago students demonstrated academic readiness upon entry to kindergarten, showing an understanding of basic kindergarten concepts such as colors, letters, numbers, sizes and shapes. By comparison, other studies have found that only 48% of children living in often under-resourced communities are academically prepared to enter kindergarten.
  • Assessments of children at the end of third grade revealed no decline of their social-emotional or concept-development skills. The study also found that the average Educare Chicago graduate possessed mathematical and problem-solving skills that are at the national benchmark.
  • Educare Chicago graduates have higher average attendance rates than Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students districtwide.
  • Educare Chicago graduate parents are rated by their children’s K-3rd grade teachers as equally, or more, involved than parents of classmates, with involvement increasing across grade levels.
  • Many parents credit their Educare Chicago experience as being instrumental in helping them become better advocates for their children.

Research & Evaluation Team & Collaborators


  • W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
  • Alvin H. Baum Family Fund
  • Paul M. Angell Family Foundation